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In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda Announces Next Generation Of RJ Leaders

In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda announces next generation of RJ leaders

Next Generation Leadership Institute grows by 33%, unveils new curriculum, welcomes 2020-2022 class of HBCU student fellows

WASHINGTON — In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda is proud to welcome a new class of Next Generation Leadership Institute Fellows. The two-year paid fellowship serves as a formal pipeline for training young Black women, of all identities, from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as Reproductive Justice leaders.

The Next Generation Leadership Institute is pleased to introduce the 2020-2022 class of HBCU students, representing five historic Black institutions of higher learning: Asia Brown (Spelman College), Nina Clinton (Lincoln University), Jennita Davis (Howard University), Tyra Gravesande (Spelman College), Madison Harris (Howard University), Khaelyn Jackson (Dillard University), Chanice Lee (Howard University), Shalae Matthews (Lincoln University), Bailey Roberts (Spelman University), Amaya Ronczyk (Dillard University), Kalaya Sibley (Dillard University) and Amber Wynne (Hampton University).

“As our nation takes steps toward fighting systemic racism, it is more important than ever to invest in the lives, leadership potential and power of young Black women, femmes and girls,” said Marcela Howell, president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda. “As colleges and universities struggle with reopening, we are continuing our commitment to this program because we believe that investing in the training of these young leaders is an important step in investing in the future of Black communities.”

The Next Generation Leadership Institute provides an opportunity to train young people in advocacy, community organizing and media while incorporating a strong foundation in Reproductive Justice values. “As a Next Generation Institute fellow, I hope to encourage meaningful conversations about women’s reproductive rights, policy and the implications that policy has on Black women,” said 2020-2022 Dillard University fellow Amaya Ronczyk. “During my time as a fellow I want to collaborate with my peers on ways to address and eradicate the stigmas surrounding reproductive and sexual health. I want to take what I have learned through this fellowship and at Dillard to create a strong foundation for a career in trial advocacy and policy research.”

Although many campuses have been shut down due to COVID-19, and in-person opportunities will likely remain somewhat diminished for the foreseeable academic year, the Next Generation Leadership Institute team unveiled a newly designed curriculum that will guide the learning outcomes for the 2020-2022 class of students even through an online model. The curriculum will highlight the program’s key competencies: Reproductive Justice, advocacy, leadership, organizing, communications, and public policy. It includes a comprehensive reading list, interactive webinars, and guest speakers. The goal is to ensure that the fellows develop the knowledge, skills, and attributes they will need to flourish as Reproductive Justice leaders on their campuses and beyond.

“Being a Next Generation Leadership Institute fellow was a gift I’d never see myself having. I always knew that I would make and create some sort of change in my community for Black women and becoming a Next Gen fellow will provide me with the opportunity to make that change,” said Tyra Gravesande, 2020-2022 Spelman College fellow. “I am so excited to continue to mobilize in my communities, provide extensive resources and most importantly fellowship with my HBCU family and meeting prominent leaders who are fighting for Reproductive Justice!”

Through its recently graduated inaugural 2018-2020 class, the Next Generation Leadership Institute has already cultivated fearless student leaders from five HBCUs across the nation, including Dillard University, Hampton University, LeMoyne-Owen College, Lincoln University and Spelman College.

“I appreciated the Next Generation Leadership Institute fellowship because it gave me the chance to create community with Black women and inspire us to break barriers and achieve goals,” said Jenai Patrick, Lincoln University 2018-2020 fellow.

During their tenure as Next Generation Leadership fellows, these students developed engaging campus forums on important policy issues, received strategic communication training, learned tips on how to mobilize on their campuses and participated in panel presentations at progressive conferences.

“This fellowship has guided me into a healthier emotional and mental lifestyle full of self-care and love and I will forever be indebted,” said Jenieya Peterson, Lemoyne-Owen College 2018-2020 fellow.

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